Friday, January 9, 2009

The 'Embargo' argument

Last year, Chris Anderson of Wired magazine made news with the controversial decision to publish the email addresses of PR practitioners who consistently bombarded him with irrelevant pitches. Now, Michael Arrington of the TechCrunch blog has fired an opening salvo at companies that fail to enforce embargoes.

The latest article from Marketing Profs outlines his new approach:

"We've never broken an embargo at TechCrunch," he writes at a post titled "Death to the Embargo." "Not once. Today that ends. From now our new policy is to break every embargo. We'll happily agree to whatever you ask of us, and then we'll just do whatever we feel like right after that. We may break an embargo by one minute or three days. We'll choose at random."

In the last year, argues Arrington, companies desperate for attention have become especially aggressive in their pitching methods, for instance by providing embargoed announcements to just about anyone with a URL. While reputable outlets like TechCrunch hold the news until the embargo date, it looks as if they're being scooped on a regular basis by less scrupulous competitors. "The benefits are clear," he says. "[S]ites like Google News and TechMeme prioritize them first as having broken the story. Traffic and links flow in to whoever breaks an embargo first."

What do you think of Arrington's policy?

Cheers Heidi Alexandra Pollard, The Communicators' Coach

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